A girl with blue eyes and glitters on her face looks at the camera. (Photo : Lil Artsy/Pexels)
A girl with blue eyes and glitters on her face looks at the camera.

"There must be some mistake. We can't be out of glitter." That's what Barbie said in the episode titled "Gone Glitter Gone" of the animated web series "Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse" when she discovered that her hometown, Malibu, had run out of glitter, causing a global panic in the beauty world. 

However, this time, it's happening in real life, not in Malibu, but in Europe. And it's not because the world is running out of glitter but because the European Union (EU) officially bans it.

The glitter ban went into effect on October 17 to reduce environmentally harmful microplastic pollution by 30% in member countries by 2030.

"The purpose is to reduce emissions of intentional microplastics from as many products as possible," the EU said in a press release. 

What's Banned And What's Allowed?

The glitter ban does not necessarily mean it compasses all types of glitter. The EU only banned non-biodegradable and non-dissolvable glitters. 

It means the new regulations primarily aim at loose plastic glitter and products containing certain microbeads, tiny synthetic polymer particles, and other microplastics. 

Examples of this are glitters that are used in parties or Christmas decorations. How about glitters used in cosmetics? They are not totally out of the market yet.

The EU gave makeup brands ample time to phase out any plastic glitter they use. Rinse-off cosmetic glitter has until October 16, 2027, while leave-on cosmetic glitter has until October 16, 2029. 

Glitter can be sold for lip, nail, and makeup cosmetics until October 16, 2035, but to stay on the market, these products must include a label warning that they contain microplastics.

In addition, retailers are not being forced to throw out their glitter inventory. Items already available on the store shelves before the EU ban took effect may still be sold until the supply runs out.

The ban does not cover biodegradable glitter, shiny beads, sequins that are sewn to clothes, and decorative plastic glitter in enclosed items like snow globes. 

Banning Glitter to Reduce Environmental Threats

Glitter is fun, and it has indeed become an iconic trend in the world of beauty. However, glitters are made of microplastics, and microplastic pollution is already a major environmental issue, causing serious threats to marine life and human health. 

The EU views the glitter ban as a significant step toward environmental protection and a more environmentally conscious mindset.